The state opposition has backed calls for a dog ban in the Kings Forest township development on the Tweed Coast to protect the shire’s largest koala colony.
Tweed Shire Council last week voted to urge the federal government to impose a total dog ban on the proposed development planned to eventually house an extra 10,000 people.
Leda Developments says the project with a dog ban in place would not be financially viable, and is backed by some local real-estate agents who say home sales are slowed up by dog bans.
But koala protection campaigners say allowing pets on the development would doom the Tweed’s dwindling Tweed Coast koala colonies of around 140 animals to extinction.
They also say koalas thrived there first and the developer knew that beforehand.
NSW Labor’s north coast spokesperson Walt Secord has called on environment minister Robyn Parker to ‘stand up to property developers’ and support a dog ban to protect the rare coastal koala habitat.
‘Make no mistake, the koala is under threat on the far north coast and the community wants them protected,’ Mr Secord said.
‘Koalas have suffered due to encroaching development, attacks by pets, imported disease and road killings, and it is time the O’Farrell Government stood up to the property developers.’
Mr Secord said the Kings Forest development site of 880 hectares for 4,500 lots, was home to the largest koala colony on the far north coast.
The other two are at Round Mountain near Bogangar/Cabarita, and Pottsville at the Koala Beach estate.
Campaigners Team Koala wants to protect the remaining koalas and is calling for the dog ban, speed limits and corridors and overpasses in the housing development to protect koalas living there.
Mr Secord said there was a precedent in the Tweed for this type of protection, with the Koala Beach no dogs and cats policy already in place.
‘At the time of European settlement, there were an estimated 10 million koalas in Australia and today, there are only 10,000 in NSW,’ he said.
‘The situation is even more desperate on the north coast with less than 140 koalas in the Tweed and about 60 of them at Kings Forest alone.
‘The O’Farrell government must now remove this latest threat to their continued survival by immediately announcing a dog ban in this housing development.’